SIKESTON - Elze Andrew Graham, a wonderful and beloved husband, brother, father, grandfather and friend of many, died at 2 a.m. Saturday, March 18, 2006, at the age of 85. Elze Andrew was born Feb. 9, 1921, in Bartlesville, Okla. He moved to Mississippi in 1932, and then to Essex in 1935.
Elze worked for the United States Department of Reclamation in Oregon for one year, then in the Forestry Service in Doniphan, Mo., for nine months. In 1940 he joined the United States Navy, where he served on the USS Wyoming out of Norfolk, Va. He served in the U.S. Navy during World War II and the Korean War. While serving on the USS Dayton C.L. 105, he received the Navy Commendation for zeal, skill and performance of duty. He also served on the USS Vermilion and USS Alshain. After 14 years, Elze received a medical discharge, holding the rank of Boats'n Mate First Class. Upon retiring from the Navy, he worked for the Army Corps of Engineers in St. Louis as a head lock and dam operator in Alton, Ill., until 1973. During this time, he received three commendations for sustained superior performance of duty. After retiring from the Corps of Engineers, Elze moved to Livingston, Mont., where he became a guide for fly fishermen. His years in the southwest region of Montana were spent fishing, hunting and prospecting in the mountain region that he loved. Elze loved to travel and visited every state in our country. His favorite fishing area was Yellowstone National Park, where he had fished every river in the region.
On July 28, 1942, in Portland, Maine, he married Emma Helen Normand, who died Oct. 23, 1976. On Sept. 2, 1978, he married Ruth Launius Atkinson, who preceded him in death on Aug. 5, 1999. On Dec. 28, 2001, Elze married Maureen Blanton Klein, who survives and resides in Sikeston.
Also he was preceded in death by his father, Phillip Andrew Graham; his mother, Lydia B. Mitchell Graham; and one brother, Woodie Graham.
Other survivors include: sisters, Essie Denton of Sikeston and Frances Brown of St. Louis; brothers, Lonnie Graham of Spartanburg, S.C., Arthur Graham of Wheaton, Md., and Donald Graham of St. Louis; daughter and son-in-law, Ruth Ann and Kenneth Wasson of Sikeston; grandson Darrell Wasson, his wife, Kristina, and sons, Ryan and Brandon, of Virginia Beach, Va.; son, Robert E. Atkinson, his wife, Naomi, and children of Bakersfield, Calif.; and stepchildren, Jim and Carolyn Klein, Steve and Antoinette Klein, Leo and Tina Calagaz, Steven and Maureen Lupo, Dr. William Klein; and 13 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
Elze was a devoted member of St. Francis Xavier Church, serving as an usher and greeter for 27 years.
Visitation will be from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. Monday, March 20, 2006, at Nunnelee Funeral Chapel with a prayer service to follow at 7 p.m. A funeral mass to celebrate Elze's life will be at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday at St. Frances Xavier Church with Rev. Scott Sunnenberg, pastor, officiating.
Burial will follow in Sikeston City Cemetery.
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may be made to:
St. Francis Xavier Debt Fund
245 W. Front St.
Sikeston, MO 63801